“The final game wasn’t fair…”
“There’s pictures of the ball on the ground, but the refs called it a catch. I personally think we won Provincials. It’s controversial.”
“It was a heartbreaker.”
With a tough and somewhat contentious loss still fresh on the minds of the Terry Fox Ravens, this season is all about redemption for the senior boy’s football team from north side PoCo.
Of course, the above quotes come from a few Ravens who feel as though they were cheated out of a championship win against the New Westminster Hyacks.
“We had a really good game, but unfortunately we lost to a last second decision on the play,” said Ravens’ # 78 Matt Hew-Baddege. “I feel like from last year we really have a high bar that we set, so I’m hoping that all of us have the right mentality and we take our physicality back, and we go all the way from where we were and hopefully win the championships.”
Hew-Baddege started playing football when he was just six-years-old. His mom showed him the sport and he’s been addicted to the game ever since. When Hew-Baddege puts the cleats on, he rocks the left tackle and nose tackle positions.
He says playing for Terry Fox has been the highlight of his high school tenure.
“It’s been really good. I came here in Grade 9; so I’ve been here since the start and the coaches and players are amazing—especially the coaches—they’re really good at coaching. And that’s what I’d say has brought a lot of the players to where they are now and where we are in the rankings.”
Despite the upset from last year, the Ravens are starting this season with a clean slate—yet, with all of the tools for revenge.
And while that may sound overly confident, if the fields surrounding the suburban school could talk, they’d completely agree. The team is putting in a whole lot of work this season with one goal in mind: Go undefeated and make it back to the finals.
But this time, win.
“We’re just going to use that [loss] to our advantage and push harder than we ever have before,” said # 10 Cade Cote.
Cote is a senior running back and linebacker for the Ravens. He says playing for Terry Fox is very “competitive” compared to his old gig at SRT.
“It was kind of mellow, no one really was hyped to play,” Cote said. “So I came here, and it was like a whole different story.”
Wide receiver/running back/cornerback # 23 Jaden Severy reiterated that playing for Terry Fox is definitely unique.
“I think just having the winning culture and always learning new things from the coaches every single year,” he said. “When I first came here, I didn’t know much about football because I never had the opportunity but [Coach McDonnell] was actually giving me the opportunity to play and learn more about it.”
Head coach Martin McDonnell has been doing his thing for 33 years. He and Tom Kudaba took over the program at Terry Fox 20 years ago. Ironically, McDonnell took the reigns from his former football coach.
“Teaching is a tough gig,” he said of his experience coaching. “And if they see that you’re out and you care about them, they might care a little bit more about you and how they behave.”
Coach expects his team to grind harder than ever on the gridiron to get back to the finals and come out on top this time around.
“We’re looking forward to the season and seeing how we can stack up. We lost in the final last year; we won the year before, so we’re definitely a team to be contended with.”
He’s most looking forward to duking it out against the tough teams, like STM, Mount Douglas, and hopefully Vancouver College (if they get the chance at playoffs).
Aside from all the hype on the field, the Fox boys are a brotherhood off the field, too.
“Everyone’s just so connected,” said tight end/defensive end # 44 Eric Polan.
“We all love each other so much.”
Severy agrees, too.
“I think they’re all just great guys. They’re all people that you can relate with and they’re sort of like a second family to me.”
If these brothers can all band together, their dreams of getting back to the finals may just be a reality.
Ravens’ quarterback # 8 Matt Lew-Hendrickson believes he can lead his team to the dome.
“I think we can do it. We just gotta keep practicing and trust what we do.”
Polan had an afterthought, as well:
“Last season doesn’t care about this season, so put that behind us. We’re just looking forward to winning again this year.”
With nothing but a Ravens redemption on their mind, Terry Fox plans to keep those Friday Night lights lit each week as they hope to go undefeated. And if each player and piece comes together just right, we may see these boys back at the dome for the Subway Bowl.
"[My inspiration] when I was younger—and still is now—goes between Ray Lewis and Troy Polamalu. I would watch them play and their motivation has always been there...and they’re hard hitters. They always do really well so I’ve always looked up to them."
And so, in the famous words of Ray Lewis:
"You gotta be hungry for it. You’ve got to put everything you got on it. Everything! Every second. You have to be the first one in line.That’s how leaders are born.”
The Terry Fox Ravens have the Game of the Week this Friday at Lord Tweedsmuir. Game time is 3pm.
Written by: Crystal Scuor